House Senate Pass Bill To Exempt Graduation Ceremonies From Covid Orders
Michigans schools could be a step closer to having more leeway to host commencement ceremonies, after the Senate and House on Wednesday passed a fast-tracked proposal to exempt the events from pandemic emergency orders.
Most local school boards have done a good job of mitigating the risk of COVID, bill sponsor Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, said on the Senate floor. We should trust them to safely manage their own graduations.
The approval in both chambers comes a day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the state is easing restrictions on Thursday, making masks not required outdoors for gatherings of up to 100 people.
COVID-19 cases are rapidly declining in Michigan, reaching their lowest point in six weeks on Monday. Whitmer has said she wont fully lift all the state restrictions until 70 percent of adult residents are vaccinated.
Robert Leddy, a spokesperson for Whitmer, didnt say if the governor supports the measure, but said she continues to encourage families and school districts to hold ceremonies to honor students’ incredible achievements while ensuring the safety of all attendees.
Currently, graduation ceremonies are allowed, but they have to adhere to certain capacity limits.
Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, was the lone Democrat in the Senate to support the exemption, saying her vote represents the will of her district.
The Time For Democrats To Go Nuclear Was Yesterday
In the U.S., constitutional law guarantees pregnant people the right to have an abortion without interference from the state. Judicial precedent also empowers Americans to preempt any state law that flagrantly violates their constitutional rights: Even before an illicit statute takes effect, individuals can seek a court order barring state officers from enforcing it.
The pro-life movement abhors these legal niceties. In recent years, red states have routinely enacted de facto repeals of Roe v. Wade, only to see their unconstitutional laws nipped in the bud. Of course, conservatives did not respond to these setbacks by revising their agenda to better fit the demands of law and procedure. Rather, they used every tool at their disposal including unprecedented violations of Senate convention to assemble an anti-abortion Supreme Court majority. Meanwhile, in Texas, Republicans devised a cockamamie scheme for nullifying abortion rights immediately with just a small favor from their friends on the high court.
This pretext is absurd. As Voxs Ian Millhiser writes, the tactic could be used to undermine virtually any constitutional right. Imagine, for example, that New York passed an SB 8style law allowing private individuals to bring lawsuits seeking a $10,000 bounty against anyone who owns a gun.
Eric Tiffany Trump To Make Final Election Push In Michigan
Two of President Donald Trumps children will be making stops in Michigan on Thursday as they stump for their Republican father with days to go until the Nov. 3 election.
Tiffany Trump will host a Breakfast With Tiffany event at 9 a.m. in Birmingham.
Eric Trump will host two events. First, theres a Make America Great Again event at Hope Sports Complex in Lansing at 2:30 p.m. Then, he will host an Evangelicals for Trump event at ResLife Church in Grandville in Kent County at 6 p.m. Mansur Shaheen
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Paul Mitchell Quits Gop Over Trump Fraud Claims
U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell of Dryden says he’s;leaving the Republican party over disgust and disappointment with President Donald Trumps efforts to overturn the results of the election.
In a Monday letter to Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and GOP House of Representatives leader Kevin McCarthy, Mitchell lambasted Republican colleagues for refusing to speak out against conspiracy theories and baseless claims of election fraud.
It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote, wrote Mitchell, who added he voted for Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
The retiring representative requested his political party affiliation be changed to independent for the remainder of his term in office, which finishes Jan. 3.; He is being succeeded by Lisa McClain, a vocal Trump supporter, to represent the 10th district that covers Michigan’s Thumb.
Mitchells decision came after Electoral Colleges convened nationwide Monday to formally elect Democrat Joe Biden, who won more than the 270 electoral votes required to secure the presidency.;
Since the election, Mitchell has spoken out against several unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud promoted by Trump and his supporters.; He is the second Michigan Republican, along with retiring Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, to switch party affiliation to independent during Trumps term.
Senate Approves Hertel As Health Director
Senate Republicans on Tuesday continued their protest against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders but stopped just short of rejecting the appointment of her new state health director.
Elizabeth Hertel, a former GOP legislative aide who Whitmer appointed in January, will remain director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Sixteen Senate Republicans voted to block Hertel, with several voicing concerns she will work in lockstep with Whitmer to continue restrictions they deem overly onerous.
But GOP Leader Mike Shirkey and three colleagues joined Democrats to approve the appointment in a 18-16 vote. It was a symbolic move because the upper chamber only has the authority to “disapprove” appointments within 60 days, and the GOP did not have the 19 votes needed to do so.
My vote in favor of Elizabeth Hertels appointment does not reflect agreement with her decisions as deputy director and now as director of MDHHS, but rather my belief that her background and expertise make her qualified for the job, Shirkey said in a statement.
In our conversations, I have made it clear to Elizabeth that I will continue to push for an end to the nonsensical loophole that allows the department director to control and harm the lives and livelihoods of Michiganders for months or even years on end.
Cal Cunningham Concedes North Carolina Senate Race
Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded in the;North Carolina;Senate race on Tuesday, saying in a statement that he had called Republican incumbent Senator Thom Tillis to congratulate him on his victory.
“I just called Senator Tillis to congratulate him on winning re-election;to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead,” Cunningham said. “The voters have spoken and I respect their decision.”
CBS News projects that Tillis has won the race, after Cunningham’s concession. Tillis led Cunningham by nearly 100,000 votes as of Tuesday. The presidential race in North Carolina is still too close to call, although President Trump is currently in the lead. The full results of the election in North Carolina are unlikely to be known until later this week, as the deadline in the state to receive absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day is November 12.
Huizenga Tests Positive For Covid
U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga said Wednesday he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to a planned appearance in Grand Rapids with Vice President Mike Pence.;
The Zeeland Republican announced results from what he called a rapid test while Pence spoke in west Michigan. Huizenga said he was tested offsite, per event protocol, and is awaiting results of a separate diagnostic test that is typically more accurate.;
In the meantime, I am self isolating until I have confirmed results, the congressman wrote on Twitter.;
Earlier today, I was expected to appear with the Vice President. While taking part in offsite testing protocols, I took a rapid test that came back positive for COVID-19. I am awaiting the results of a PCR test and I am self isolating until I have confirmed results.
Rep. Bill Huizenga
Pence spoke at an auto supply company near Grand Rapids, where he defended GOP President Donald Trumps handling of the pandemic and touted the countrys pre-coronavirus economy, among other things.;
Trump, who tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, is back out on the campaign trail and doing well, Pence said. The president, who is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in recent Michigan polls, is scheduled to speak at a Muskegon rally on Saturday.
We are opening up America, and we are opening up American schools, Pence said.;
Watch his full speech below via WOOD-TV 8. Jonathan Oosting
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Republicans Demand Answers About Private Jet
Republicans say they are giving Gov. Gretchen Whitmer until Wednesday to answer 43 questions regarding her trip to Florida or they could launch an investigation.
House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, said Thursday he has sent the Democratic governor a list of questions regarding her trip to Florida on a private jet from March 12 to March 15.;
- When did you make the decision to go to Florida?
- Outside this trip, while Governor, has the governors nonprofit, Michigan Transition 2019, paid for any other travel?
- Was there any official, or state business purpose of this trip?
- How many people were on the plane?
These questions are both reasonable and important to giving the people of Michigan certainty that their governor is following proper procedures and acting within the bounds of the law, Johnson wrote in the letter.;
Sergio Martínez-Beltrán May 20, 2021
Whitmer has until 10:30 a.m. Thursday to respond to the questions, Johnson wrote.
Any failure to act in good faith or a full refusal to answer these questions may result in further investigations by the House Oversight Committee, Johnson wrote.
Whitmers office didnt immediately respond to a request for comment by Bridge Michigan.
Whitmers office said the governor paid $855 for her seat.
Trump Attacks Snyder After Fox News Appearance
Former Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder told Fox News he voted for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, earning the ire of President Donald Trump Thursday night.
Im a proud Republican, Snyder told Fox News Neil Cavuto on Your World. Im an American first, and we shouldnt let partisanship get in the way of good decision-making for our country and Joe Biden is a much better decision than Donald Trump.
Snyder endorsed Biden for president in September. Trump is set to visit the state on Friday afternoon for a rally in Waterford Township, before returning again on Monday, a day before Nov. 3. He also held a rally in Lansing on Tuesday. Mansur Shaheen
Snyder cited the presidents tax bill from 2017, tariffs he has imposed on goods from Canada, Mexico and other trading partners, and the governments COVID-19 response as reasons for why he chose to vote against Trump.
Failed RINO former Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was a disaster with respect to the Flint Water CATASTROPHE, and a very bad Governor overall. He hurt so many people with his gross incompetence, Trump responded to Snyder on Twitter Thursday evening.
Failed RINO former Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan was a disaster with respect to the Flint Water CATASTROPHE, and a very bad Governor overall. He hurt so many people with his gross incompetence. He reminds me of Sleepy Joe!
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Judge Approves Flint Water Crisis Settlement
Flint residents can start registering to receive their share of a landmark legal settlement tied to the Flint water crisis, after a federal judge on Thursday granted preliminary approval of the $641.2 million settlement with the state of Michigan and other parties.
Residents have until March 29 to register to participate in the settlement.;
Not everyone in Flint is eligible to receive money. The proposed settlement includes 30 claims categories to account for people harmed by the water crisis.
The bulk of the settlement money, about 80 percent, will go to people who were minors when Flint switched its water source in 2014. Much of the rest will go to adults who can prove they suffered physical harm or property damage as a result of the crisis.
Once registered, residents have until Aug. 26 to submit documents supporting their claims. That could include medical records, evidence of property damage or other paperwork.
Before funds can be released, U.S. District Judge Judge Judith Levy must grant final approval. First, shell hold a public hearing July 12.
Some Flint activists have criticized the settlement, arguing it excludes too many city residents who should be eligible for money. Proponents of the settlement say it’s good for the city.
Lawyers for Flint residents continue to pursue lawsuits against two engineering firms that did not join the settlement, as well as a separate lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.;
Republicans Seek End To Secretary Of State Appointment
A new measure making its way through the Legislature would require Michigan Secretary of State branches to open for walk-ins.
The Republican proposal comes in response to Secretary of State Jocelyn Bensons decision to shift to an appointment-only system to modernize the agency and end pandemic-related transaction backlogs.
If you want to use the appointment system that works, you still have that option, House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson, R-Wayland, said Thursday during a hearing.
But for some people that don’t work, they need that walk-in option.
The House measures would require the Secretary of States branches to provide a minimum of eight hours in-person without the need of an appointment.
It will also waive late fees on registrations until walk-ins are reinstalled and would extend the grace period for expired driver licenses, enhanced licenses, state IDs, permits and certifications to September. The proposals will apply retroactively from April 1.
Adam Reames, the legislative policy director at the Secretary of State, told lawmakers the agency supports waiving late fees and a staggered extension of grace periods.
But the appointment-only system is the best operational model and should remain, Reames said.
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Protest Expected To Draw Hundreds
Multiple Michigan militia groups are planning an armed protest Sunday at the Lansing Capitol that could draw several hundreds of protesters, Michael Lackomar, team leader of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, told Bridge Michigan.;
Lackomars group and several other Michigan militia organizations including the Michigan Home Guard, Michigan Liberty Militia and Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines will likely be in attendance, he said.
He said the groups main grievance is the state Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 restrictions, which have destroyed businesses. Lackomor said they are also dissatisfied with the way the state government handled the election although he said that Democrat Joe Biden probably won.;
The plans come amid warnings from an internal FBI report about armed protests in all 50 capitals nationwide and in Washington, D.C, this weekend until Bidens inauguration next Wednesday.;
The planned protests follow a chaotic week in D.C., when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol while Congress convened to count the nations Electoral College voters.;
Before the siege, Trump told supporters that Congress should toss out the election results, and urged them to march to the Capitol and show strength. The riots left five dead, including a police officer.;
On Wednesday, the House voted to impeach Trump for a second time for his role in inciting the insurrection. The timing of a trial in the U.S. Senate remains uncertain.;
Whitmer Says No More New Restrictions
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doubling down on her decision not to add new restrictions or regulations amid a surge of coronavirus cases in Michigan.
Currently, the state has the highest case rate in the nation by far. On Wednesday, the state reported 7,955 new COVID-19 cases.
In a media appearance dominated by talks about the benefits of therapeutic treatments, Whitmer blamed the increase on the publics fatigue and the variants of the virus in the state.
That’s precisely why instead of mandating that we’re closing things down, we are encouraging people to do what we know works as the most important thing that we can do, Whitmer said. It’s not a policy problem, it is a variant and compliance problem.
Whitmer also said the state is focusing on getting more people vaccinated.
Her decision goes against what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised the state to do.
In a White House briefing this week, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky called on the state to implement stronger restrictions and mitigation protocols.;
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What Difference Does The New House Majority Make
The Democrats took control of the House, having gained more than the 23 seats they need to take over the lower chamber of Congress. Americans voted for all 435 seats in the House.
The Democrats could now launch investigations into Mr Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.
They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
But analysts say dealing with a hostile House may suit the president, who is known both for his partisan style and ability to switch positions. They say he could either choose to accuse the Democrats of obstruction or try to reach deals to get legislation through.
Female candidates performed particularly well. Two 29-year-old Democrats – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer – are due to be the youngest women ever to win House seats.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women and Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. All are Democrats.